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PSYC 330 Lecture Notes - Superior Colliculus, Zoom Lens, Adam Savage

Course Code
PSYC 330
Richard Wright

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So Good They Can't Ignore You (Cal Newport) -- most success when people get jobs they weren't
sure about and later gained the skills in
Previously we talked about filter metaphor (picking out what to attend to) & resource metaphor
(practice effect)
Moving the attention
Find a way to keep eyes from moving while shifting attention (independent of eyes)
e.g., basketball players keep eyes on opposing players, but checking out your own
e.g., watch the road while driving in residential neighbourhood, but keeping an eye out for
kid running into the road
Spotlight metaphor
As opposed to overt orienting (turning body, head, eyes towards attended stimuli)
Tis why behaviourist don't study this! It's hard to study from observation! Wasn't studied
until 1970's
That is, it's not obvious [what] you're attending to it
It might not be worth moving your eyes. It's time consuming (can only do like 4/second)
e.g., looking at road, but attention focal point on cyclist
We can use covert attention much faster than moving eyes back and forth
So don't move your eyes too much while you're driving...
When we move our eyes, vision is temporarily suspended (more on this next week)
Why not just move our eyes?
Find a way to study movement of attention independent of eye position
Studied attention orienting in 1800's
Built a box with dark inside, with mirrors inside, lighting a spark inside it for
stimulating vision (tekistiscope)
You can show a word or something in the box; something we used before computers
P would look in and see the visible pin hole (put a word or something); because it's
dark P would look at it
Looking at the middle, but shift attention to the side -> would be able to read the
letters where the spotlight is, better than where our eyes were
Before giving a lecture, he'd run a demonstration of a phenomenon on himself with a
contraption he made (he was REALLY good at that)
ocular and attentional focal points
"the most important work on attention in the 1800's"
Even though study on attention was halted, people used this concept again when
study on attention restarted
Only now we can use computers too instead
First to suggest that it can be studied
What is covert orientingI.
Use of cues goes way back, even before attention research
Different tone (high, med, low pitch) = different location to attend to (top, middle, bottom)
Studying iconic memory
Auditory location cueing
Studying covert orienting with location cueingII.
Orienting Attention in Space
8:30 AM
P330 Attention Page 1

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Studying iconic memory
Cue comes after stimulus
Cue comes after stimulus & studying iconic memory
Rows of letters, and ask them "what was presented here"
Visual location cueing
Simple enough that children & animals can do it too
Widely used Posner Task
Developed a location cueing task, specifically for covert orienting
Start with fixation point (P told to keep eyes on the cross all the time); then...
1000ms later, horizontal line comes up (location cue onset) in peripheral; 100ms, a
blue circle (target onset) comes up on the line; Goal: click button when they see target
(record response)
Accurate cues (valid cue) help people react faster
Valid cue: target appears on line
Invalid cue: target doesn't appear on line
Direct cueing: the horizontal line
Instead of horizontal line, the fixation point becomes an arrow that points left/right
With valid/invalid cue trials
Kind of only gives the cue of onset but not direction
Also has neutral (arrow points both ways: )
e.g., gaze cueing
When we're babies, we're always looking at parents' eyes to figure out what is
Indirect cueing (but with eyes instead of the arrow)
A form of symbolic cueing
Indirect cueing: arrow
Cueing condition Response time
Valid ~245ms (benefit)
Neutral ~270ms
Invalid ~300ms (cost)
Significant difference, YO
Caught on, also b/c of the spot light metaphor
Experiment reliably works, with linear/robust results (RESEARCHERS LOVE THAT PATTERN)
The bottom surface is the computer screen
The top surface is our attentive level
Start with focusing on fixation point. When the cue is presented to the right, our
attentional focal point shifts to where the cue is. When the target appears, focal point
is already there, ergo faster reaction time.
[image] Valid cue trials
Vs. invalid cue trial: in which the target appears on the left side. The attentional focal point
is on the right, so it takes it some time to shift to where the target is, ergo slower reaction
First attempt to use spotlight metaphor to study covert attention
A philosopher; was whacked in the head and saw spots of light
Insight that the way we see is b/c we have fire/light in our head so that it illuminates what
we see
This idea persisted through the ages … until it was awkwardly debunked (when they tried to
test it in its literal meaning)
[History on the metaphor] Alcmaeon 450 BCE: Lamp light theory of vision
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